Spaceship Modeling


Spaceship Modeling


Video Segment 1

Blocking out

In this video we concentrate on developing a proxy model for the project. This model will then go on to form the backbone of the project and be a constant source of reference. During this process we look at setting up Backdrop items, and most importantly, how to interpret a two dimensional drawing to create a model that it is both accurate and flexible so it can be an integral part of an iterative design process.

Video Segment 2

Hull topology

With the proxy model as a template we can now start building the final model. We start with the main hull of the spacecraft. This is the largest part of the model, and the structure from which all the other details are connected. Through the video we investigate a method for developing topology that will accommodate that detail, while at the same time preserving the clean flowing lines of the hull. The hull is created using Pixar Subdivision Surfaces and we make extensive use of edge weighting.

Video Segment 3

Hull detailing

With the main structure in place we are now free to embellish it with details, and in this video we look at three different ways of approaching it. Firstly we look at model bashing, or how to manipulate presets to quickly populate less important areas of the model. Secondly we look at modeling details that are more intrinsic to the design but not directly connected to the hull. And thirdly we look at how to cut into areas of the hull to add details that are directly connected to it. During this video we also look at some simple rigging techniques that allow us to evaluate the integrity of the details we’re creating.

Video Segment 4


The cockpit of a plane, the bridge of a spaceship, or any kind of control room, are always fascinating areas to model because they bristle with controls and are visually rich. They are also the areas in which a human will interact with a vehicle making it a natural area of focus. In this video we assume the camera is going to get really close and have some fun building a canopy that will open and close believably, and develop some detailed control surfaces using the Model Bashing kit.

Video Segment 5


We complete the tutorial by modeling the outriggers, which are very important parts of the design and are little microcosms of the whole project. We develop smooth weighted topology in the same way as we did in video 2, and add details and embellish the design like we did in video 3, but the most interesting thing about this section is when we re-design an area and add structures that are not present in the reference in order for it to function in a certain way.

Meet James Robbins

James Robbins started his career as an illustrator and eventually progressed through Art Directing to being the production designer. James has been with Stargate for the last ten years. His work is familiar to many; he designed for SG -1 and Stargate Atlantis for the last two seasons of each show as well as the pilot and both seasons of Stargate Universe. Prior to that he designed independent features and TV commercials for a variety of clients, including Heineken, Sprite, Sprint and Maxfli to name a few. James was specially commissioned by us to create the spaceship used in this modeling tutorial.

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